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Old Jul 9, 2012, 2:19 PM   #1
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Default World's Smallest Raptor - Pied Falconets Part 1

Cross Posted from the Wildlife forum but since many here don't go there I'd thought I'd steal some bandwidth and double post - very naughty I know !


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Well almost. I was shooting some Pied Falconet's last weekend in Wuyuan, China. Here's some excerpts on the birds :-
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The average size of the smallest falcons is about 15 cm (6 in.), and weigh 35 g (1.23 oz.). There are about 10 or so very small falcons, found in different regions and habitats across the world. The smallest are the Black-thighed Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius) found throughout Southeast Asia, and the White-fronted Falconet (Microhierax latifrons) on the island of Borneo.

Other species of the Falconet genus Microhierax include the Collared Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens), the Philippine Falconet, Microhierax erythrogenys) and the Pied Falconet (Microhierax melanoleucus).

The Spot-winged Falconet (Spiziapteryx circumcincta) is found in south america.

Another group of small falcons are the Pygmy falcons belonging to the genus Polihierax which includes the african Pygmy-falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus) the White-rumped Falcon or White-rumped Pygmy-falcon (Polihierax insignis).

By comparison the smallest falcon in North America is the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) which is 20-28cm (8-11 in) in length and weighs over three times as much as of most of these small falconets.

The adult Pied Falconets feed mostly on insects, but also on small birds up to x3 larger than themselves e.g. thrushes, and also small ground mammals and reptiles. Insects and birds are taken in flight.

Adult Pied Falconets (aka Pied Pygmy Falcon, White-legged Falconet) are variously given from different internet sources as averaging 16-18cms (6 -7 ins).
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From watching these birds for about 10 hours over 4 days (not one shot until after 7.5 hours) I can say their hunting success rate is around 90% ! Their prey rarely escapes capture. Which during these 4 days comprised of dragonflies, butterflies and another couple saw them also take a small bird.

Seen in some of these shots are a parent and fledgling and the parent twice called the fledgling in to share the prey (a dragonfly and a butterfly).

Hope you enjoy these ! All taken with a Pentax K5, DA*300 and AFA x1.7 TC.

Fledgling


Into Action !


Gargoyle


Bigger than a dragonfly - just


Going Home


What Did You Say ?


Sleep Guru


No, Not Even A Wing !


Fast Landing


Fantail
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 2:20 PM   #2
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... and here's those the forum watchdog wouldn't let me post above !

You'll Eat Your Dragonfly and Like It !


Angel of Mercy


One Handed


That's My Girl !
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 3:04 PM   #3
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Majestic looking little birds. I really like the series Kevin, the backgrounds are perfect, great compositions, very nicely done

Hans
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...It is better to burn a roll of film than curse the darkness. Equip. K30, Q7, DAL 55-300, DA 35 f2.4, DA 50 f1.8 DA 18-135, SMC-M 28 f3.5, SMC M 50 f1.4, Canon P&S S100 w/CHDK Beta, Panasonic DMC-GM5, Flickr:
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 3:24 PM   #4
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Great shots, impressive little hunters.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 8:35 PM   #5
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Great shooting! Look even smaller then the Merlin, small raptor, I see catching dragon flies around here.

Ed
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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Default Awesome shots!

Thanks for posting these. I had never heard of this species before.
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Old Jul 10, 2012, 3:40 PM   #7
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What beautiful photos of an amazing little bird. Perfect exposure & timing, wonderful lighting, and excellent captures of all the action. (Nice captions too!!)
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Old Jul 11, 2012, 10:45 PM   #8
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Wonderful shots! They are so small, while you did explain that, seeing one next to a dragonfly meal really brought out just how small they are. An interesting bird that I've never seen before.
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Old Jul 13, 2012, 5:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monza76 View Post
Great shots, impressive little hunters.
Thanks Ira ! They certainly are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snooked View Post
Great shooting! Look even smaller then the Merlin, small raptor, I see catching dragon flies around here.
Ed
Thanks Ed. !

Yes they are quite a bit smaller, in fact Merlins (smallest raptor in both NA and Europe) is almost twice the size pf the Pied Falconets and weighs up to 7 times more !

As someone else on a UK site also mentioned Merlins I looked them up : The Merlin is 2433 cm (9.413 in) long with a 5073 cm (2029 in) wingspan.[3] Compared to most other small falcons, it is more robust and heavily built. Males average at about 165 g (5.8 oz) and females are typically about 230 g (8.1 oz).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suwanavi View Post
Thanks for posting these. I had never heard of this species before.
Thanks Suwanavi !

Quote:
Originally Posted by mole View Post
What beautiful photos of an amazing little bird. Perfect exposure & timing, wonderful lighting, and excellent captures of all the action. (Nice captions too!!)
Thanks you very much for that glowing comment Mole ! They really are amazing tiny raptors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Wonderful shots! They are so small, while you did explain that, seeing one next to a dragonfly meal really brought out just how small they are. An interesting bird that I've never seen before.
Thank you Harriet ! I was watching them at a distance through binoculars - they didn't seem so small that way Once they were perched 20 yds away I could really see how tiny they are - and as you say that normal sized Dragonfly just emphasises the lilliputian dimensions of these amazing birds.
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Jul 13, 2012, 7:46 AM   #10
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Fantastic series Kevin the DA*300 and 1.7 DO work well together.

Simon
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